This Sunday's Screen Actors Guild Awards aren't as high profile as the Academy Awards, or even the Golden Globes, but they serve as one of the best predictors of who's going to take home a gold statue come Oscar night. Here's why.
Who votes for the SAG Awards?
SAG Award nominees are chosen by a committee of about 2,100 of the guild's members, according to awards news site Gold Derby. Then, all of the 111,228 members of the Guild have the chance to vote for their picks.
Meanwhile, the acting nominees for the Academy Awards are chosen by the 1,100 members in the Academy's actors branch, before being voted on by the Academy's full 5,700 members. Those actors are all part of SAG, so you're likely to see a strong correlation most years between the awards, particularly in the acting category.
How often do the SAG Awards predict the Oscar winners?
The SAG Awards have proven to be the best Oscar predictor in the acting category of any other major awards season prize since they began in 1995, both in nominations and winners. Of the 20 nominations and four winners from each shows, the overlap between the SAG Awards (aka "the Actors") and the Academy Awards in the last few years:
- 2009: 18 nominations; 3 winners
- 2010: 19 nominations; all 4 winners
- 2011: 17 nominations; all 4 winners
- 2012: 16 nominations; 3 winners
- 2013: 15 nominations; 3 winners
- 2014: 14 nominations; all 4 winners
This year, 17 nominees crossed over between the awards shows, with the Oscars matching up on all five nominations for best supporting actor and four of the five nominations in the other three acting categories.
Where have the SAG Awards differed from the Oscars?
SAG voters have lined up with the Academy on Best Actor 16 out of 20 times. The last time they differed from the Oscars was 2003, when Johnny Depp won at the SAG Awards for "Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl" before Sean Penn took the statue home at the Oscars for "Mystic River."
For Best Actress, SAG last split from Oscar in 2011, going with Viola Davis for "The Help" over eventual Oscar winner Meryl Streep for "The Iron Lady." They've matched up 14 out of 20 years.
In the supporting categories, the SAG Awards haven't fared as well. They went 12 for 20 in Best Supporting Actor, and 13 for 20 in Best Supporting Actress. That one also has an asterisk — one of those was a tie, so if you don't count that one, they're also only 12 for 20.
What does this all mean for the Oscars?
The SAG Awards remain the ones to watch when it comes to the acting awards — though their Best Ensemble category, the SAG Awards version of Best Picture, doesn't have a particularly strong correlation to the Oscars Best Picture winner. (For that, you'll want to watch for the Producers Guild Awards.)
We're tracking awards season and what experts are predicting; see KPCC's Awards Tracker below or click here to see the full page. You can watch the Screen Actors Guild Awards this Sunday at 5 p.m. Pacific, 8 p.m. Eastern on both TBS and TNT.
Disclosure: Mike Roe, along with other members of KPCC's staff, are members of the Screen Actors Guild as part of their employment with KPCC.